Monday, August 01, 2016

Easy down the first of the broad locks

From Fleckney to the Trent all the locks are broad, built to allow barges off the river to access Loughborough, Leicester and Market Harborough. If the improvements to Watford Locks had gone ahead after the inclined plane at Foxton had been opened, broad barges would have been able to go from the Nottinghamshire coalfields, (and the Burton on Trent breweries) all the way to the capital.

After a day off yesterday, part of which involved an alternator swap, we were ready to go at around 10. A boat had pulled in, in front of us, on Saturday afternoon, and they were ready to go as well so we had the chance to share the day’s locking.

Just chillin’

The locks appear regularly now, as we begin the long descent to the Trent valley. The first was just 10 minutes around the corner, and the crew of Andante had it set ready.

Kibworth Top Lock

In the past we’ve been short of water in the pound between Kibworth Second Lock and Turner’s Turnover Lock. But not today, water was rushing down the bywashes, and at Pywell’s the next down, both top and bottom gates were overflowing. 

Pywell’s Lock, if you look closely behind Mags you’ll see the water pour over the top gatesIMG_1115

I took over the tiller for the ¼ mile pound to Cranes Lock.

Rolling Leicestershire countryside

We dropped down Cranes, and here we bid farewell to our locking companions. They turned around to head back up, aiming to moor near Fleckney again this afternoon.

We, meanwhile, carried on for another mile, mooring opposite the open meadows across to the old village of Wistow.

Ivy Bridge

St Wistan’s, Wistow

Wistow village (shortened from Wistanstowe, holy place of Wistan) was a Saxon settlement, and it was here, in 840, that the King of Mercia, Wistan, was murdered by his cousin Brifardus. The early church of that time is long gone, parts of the current one date from the 13th century, with several additions since then. There’s a legend that human hair grows in the churchyard on June 1st, the anniversary of Wistan’s death…Spooky.

Lovely views across the meadows from our mooring tonight. Pity it’s started to rain…IMG_1125

Hi Lisa. Yes, it's a lovely area. I see you enjoyed Chester. I think we may visit the city this back end...

Locks 5, miles 2¼

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